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Coke Studio and GAY TIMES are collaborating for the second year running to celebrate upcoming queer talent as part of our new music Breakthrough campaign; an ongoing campaign that gives unsigned LGBTQIA+ musicians and allies, within the UK and Ireland, the opportunity to break into the industry. We all know it’s not easy to get into a new career without some help. So, we’ve teamed up with Coke Studio to connect hand-selected talented queer acts and allies as part of our Breakthrough series, bringing must-needed new unsigned artists to wider audiences.

Last year, we documented the musical journey of Celaviedmai, Callum Crighton, Lleo, and Keanan as our first-time Breakthough acts. Now, get ready for our new line-up of artists, including the brilliant Sophie. On the dancefloor and behind her decks, Sophie’s sets honour the roots of house music all while bringing her own twist, as a queer Black musician. Inspired by the likes of icons David Bowie and Boy George, she’s taken the queer ethos of unapologetic expression and funnelled it into powerful, free-flowing music. Now, Sophie wants to bring the community of her sets to the big stage. 

We spoke with London-based DJ Sophie Joy to hear more about her go-to LGBTQIA+ album, how both Bowie and the queer community have inspired her killer house tunes and her big plans as a part of the Coke Studio and GAY TIMES’ Breakthrough campaign.

You can catch Sophie performing live this year at a handful of Coke Studio events this summer including Brighton & Hove Pride Pride, Boardmasters and Electric Picnic. 

As a musician, where do you see yourself in five years? 

I’m not a fan of having a five-year plan, as so much can change in 5 years. I’m very open to seeing where life takes me and what opportunities come up. That being said, in five years time I would like to be doing everything I am doing now, just lots more of it and all over the world!

How has the queer community empowered you in your music journey?

Ever since I first started going out as a teenager,  I would seek out queer venues knowing I’d be hearing the best tunes and having a good time where I felt embraced and accepted, and in turn this has had an impact on me musically. The music I play is definitely a long thread of all of my musical experiences starting out in the queer clubs, venues and raves from my teenage years right up to this day.


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What was the first album you bought and why? 

If we’re talking about the VERY first album I begged my mum to buy for me, it was a comeback album by The Human League called Octopus. I was a very young child and I loved a single from the album that was being played on the radio. It was called ‘Tell Me When’ – I was obsessed! I think I must have been 6 or 7.

Why is queer representation in music important to you?

I would look up to queer artists when I was younger and think to myself that I want to be visible in the same way that they are! As a child, I was always very interested in artists like David Bowie and Boy George because they challenged gender roles in a way that I didn’t understand at the time, but I was curious about. I think it’s important to see diversity in music so that everyone has figures that are representative of themselves or the things that they believe in.

What excites you most about the Coke Studio x GAY TIMES Breakthrough campaign?

I’m really looking forward to playing gigs around the country, being able to reach a wider audience and connect with more people through music. It’s also giving me the opportunity to use my platform to share more about the things I care about and believe in!